What is Nasal Congestion?
Nasal congestion is when your nose feels stuffy, tight and pressurized. If you experience nasal congestion, your nasal passage might be twisted, deviated or anatomically blocked. It may also be because the membranes that line your nose are swollen and inflamed. Most often it is a combination of the two conditions.
What causes nasal congestion?
The anatomic blockages can be due to a deviated septum, an extra sinus in your turbinates called a concha bullosa or a bony spur in the far posterior part of the septum.
The swelling can be triggered by a cold, the flu or seasonal allergies.
The swollen membranes then make more mucus in an attempt to help flush out whatever is causing them to be inflamed. The combination of these two of your body’s defenses is what cause nasal congestion.
What are the effects of nasal congestion?
Most people prefer to breathe out of their nose. When you can’t breathe normal because your nose feels stuffy and swollen it is irritating. But there are more complications than irritation.
Bad Breath & Tooth Decay
Breathing through the mouth exclusively can cause chronic bad breath known as halitosis. It also causes tooth decay due to hindrance of the natural protection of saliva.
Dizziness & Hearing Loss
Nasal congestion can cause dizziness and interfere with hearing. Your sinuses are all connected so the pressure in your nose, can affect the pressure in your ears. This can cause them to feel muffled as well as cause dizziness.
Sore Throat & Loss of Voice
Its can also affect your throat and voice. Your nose makes more mucus to help clear out your offended and swollen nasal passages. That mucus can start to run down the back of your throat. We call this post nasal drip. It can cause sore throat, cough, hoarseness and even loss of your voice.
Snoring & Sleep Interruption
It can also affect your sleep. When you can’t breathe out of your nose you are forced to breathe out of your mouth. This can cause snoring and can be a big problem for those with sleep apnea. Snoring can also keep your partner awake.
Feeding Issues for Infants
For infants nasal congestion can be a big problem as it can interfere with feeding.
What are some treatments for nasal congestion?
Keep Your Nasal Passages Moist
- Hydrate yourself, especially in Houston. Drinking at least 2-4 quarts of water a day will help keep the mucus thin and functioning maximally.
- Practice nasal rinses with nasal saline. (View our instructional video here)
- Use a humidifier
- Take a warm shower and breathe in the steam
- Use nasal saline spray
Over The Counter Medicines
- Decongestants help reduce the swelling in your nasal passages. However, prolonged use can cause blood pressure problems.
- Antihistamines help if allergies are the culprit behind your nasal congestion. Getting allergies checked and treated is an easy and important way to check and correct allergic causes of nasal congestion. You can have allergy tests done right in our office.
- Pain relievers help relieve the pain associated with the swelling in your nose
How to get rid of nasal congestion for good?
Your nasal congestion could be a symptom of one or more different problems. If you have chronic nasal congestion you may have chronic sinusitis. The above treatment options only treat the symptoms and do not get to the root of the problem. The only way to do this is to make an appointment for a comprehensive exam so we can identify the problem and come up with a permanent solution.
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